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    Author(s): Charles G. Johnson
    Date: 2003
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-569. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 41 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (3.81 MB)


    This publication documents over 90 years of plant succession on green fescue grasslands in the subalpine ecological zone of the Wallowa Mountains in northeast Oregon. It also ties together the work of four scientists over a 60-year period. Arthur Sampson initiated his study of deteriorated rangeland in 1907. Elbert H. Reid began his studies of overgrazing in 1938. Both of these individuals utilized high-elevation green fescue grasslands in different locations in the Wallowa Mountains for their study areas. Then in 1956, Gerald Strickler returned to the sites previously studied by Sampson and Reid to establish the first permanent monitoring points when he located and staked camera points they had used. He also established line transects where he photographed and sampled the vegetation to benchmark the condition of the sites. In 1998, on the 60th anniversary of the Reid camera points in Tenderfoot Basin, the author returned to document the changes in the vegetation on the Sampson and Reid sites establishing photographic comparisons and resampling the transects Strickler had established. When Sampson and Reid conducted their initial studies, domestic sheep had overgrazed the vegetation leading to severely eroded soils and weakened native vegetation. In recent years, the presence of domestic sheep had declined dramatically. As a result, vegetation trends were generally found to be static or upward on most of the sampled sites. The recent drought period (1985-92) and the high population of elk in the 1980s and 1990s contributed to the downward trend on some permanent monitoring sites. The use of repeat photography from permanent camera points and the use of permanent line transects for vegetation data acquisition provide the basis on which this comparative study and publication of findings was made possible.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Johnson, Charles G., Jr. 2003. Green fescue rangelands: changes over time in the Wallowa Mountains. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-569. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 41 p


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    Green fescue, Wallowa Mountains, Arthur Sampson, Elbert Reid, Gerald Strickler

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